I always believed that the only way each of us can change the world, our world, is through random acts of kindness. We can all help with a single smile that can warm someone’s cold day, or a little help to the so many homeless we encounter everyday. But this story is not about my random acts of goodness, but an amazing act of someone who had nothing material to give or share and yet, he showed me the biggest example of a life time.


Once on my way back from work, I was feeling particularly happy. A homeless man approached me on the street and asked for some spare change.  As I was feeling so grateful that day, I decided to give him every coin I had, and to be honest, which I would not need. The man smiled and was very surprised by the amount I handled. Instead of just saying thank you and following his path, the man, who I ashamedly don’t know the name, tried to thank me back, not with words, or his warm and hopeful smile, but with the only thing he had: his umbrella! I was amazed, here he was a man with “nothing” and his gratitude was willing to give the only thing keeping him from the constant dutch rain! Of course I politely rejected has I already had my own umbrella and he needed it far more than I did. It was not easy to convince him without offending his brave and so amazing act, but he accepted at the end, again with the most grateful smile I’ve ever seen.


It was the first time I witness a true act of generosity and kindness beyond words! It only proves that real compassion is when we share what we need, and not just what we can spare!


Eli de Lemos